2001: A Space Odyssey Wiki
2001: A Space Odyssey Wiki

One-Ear is the leader of a rival tribe, who inhabit Africa three million years ago, in Kubrick and Stanley’s 2001 project.[1] [2]

2001: A Space Odyssey[]

In the 2001 screenplay, One-Ear is tribal leader of “The Others”. He becomes the alpha after the death of Big-Tooth. Daily they occupy the shallow stream for water. Their numbers are anywhere from eighteen[1] to thirty at a time.[2] It is rather impossible to distinguish them one from the other. Moonwatcher’s tribe occupies the otherside of the stream. Whenever another tribe arrives to the water source, there is a ritualistic banter between the two groups, but it is often harmless and everyone eventually gets their fill. In a sense, there is a “truce” not to cross the stream into another's territory.[note 1]

One-Ear and Moonwatcher are the primary rival leaders featured in the 2001 film. While Moonwatcher and his family are drinking from the water source, the invasion is begun by One-Ear and his tribe of “The Others”. They run off Moonwatcher’s tribe and confiscate the waterhole for themselves. This defeat sets the pace for Moonwatcher’s “rage and confusion”[2] to seek revenge.

Later, Moonwatcher and his tribe become possessed by a “New Rock”, the Africus monolith. Subsequently, Moonwatcher realizes the capability to improvise a weapon. After seeing the successful use of a bone weapon, he then seeks to take back the waterhole.

One-Ear is then confronted by Moonwatcher at the waterhole. One-ear moves in, but is attacked by Moonwatcher’s use of the bone weapon. Once he’s down, the others equiped with bone weapons follow suit in the attack, resulting in the death of One-Ear.


  1. Kubrick attributes the death of Big-Tooth to having broken the “truce” by invading Moonwatcher’s territory on the other side. This was loosley depicted in the film, when “The Others” were sneakily climbing the rocky hillside and then proceeded to run off Moonwatcher and his family from the waterhole.

    The inclusion and death of Big-Tooth is somewhat of a departure from Clarke’s vision: “Though the man-apes often fought and wrestled one another, their disputes very seldom resulted in serious injuries. Having no claws or fighting canine teeth, and being well protected by hair, they could not inflict much harm on one another. In any event, they had little surplus energy for such unproductive behavior; snarling and threatening was a much more efficient way of asserting their points of view.”